Divorce is still expensive, even though there are thousands of divorce lawyers in Singapore. While there are firms that charge as low as $1,300 for an uncontested divorce, that is rarely the case for most divorcees.
According to Singstat, the median age for divorce in Singapore in 2015 was 42.9 years old for men, and 38.8 for women. The median duration of marriage was 10 years. At that age and after being married that long, there’s bound to be children, assets like the matrimonial home, other property or investments, joint accounts, the family car and even shares in companies.
While uncontested divorces involving the assets mentioned above may cost a few thousand dollars, contested divorces is in an entirely different league in terms of costs and time. Legal fees here can shoot up significantly and the case can drag on for years. So in this article, we will go over some useful tips to help you save time and money during your divorce.
As i mentioned above, uncontested divorces are cheaper and faster than contested divorces. Thus, the number one tip I can give you is try as much as possible to negotiate with your partner before filing for divorce. If you can agree on the terms of the divorce, it can help save you a significant amount of time and money. Not to mention the reduced stress and worry from an uncontested divorce, as you are constantly thinking about the outcome.
In an uncontested divorce, you already know what you are going to get out of it. So it gives you a greater peace of mind and helps you plan ahead on how to move on and restructure your life after the divorce. Try your best to come to an agreement with your partner, as it’s beneficial for the both of you.
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2.Only listen to advice from your Lawyer
It is very common for people to rely on online sources of information with regards to their divorce. Divorcees might post their problems on online platforms such as forums, looking to get advice and guidance from others.
While there is nothing wrong with this, it can sometimes be misleading. This is because the people replying to you might not be qualified to give legal advice (i.e they are not divorce lawyers). Often, they can only speak from experience and what worked for them in their divorce.
Legal cases are very complex, so while you can ask non-lawyers and other divorcees for guidance, take it with a pinch of salt. Only ever follow advice from YOUR lawyer. They are there to fight for you.
3.Give accurate info
Some divorce lawyers I spoke to told me that they do encounter clients who do not fully disclose assets, financial positions and other important information to them until later on in the divorce.
While I feel for them – because personal financials and assets are a touchy topic, this is an exception. You are talking to a lawyer who has obligations to you, and are helping you navigate the complex legal system. You are dealing with the law.
That said, give your lawyer accurate, up-to-date information and be honest. Not just pertaining to financials and assets, but to all other aspects relevant to the divorce. Your lawyer cannot give you solid advice and help you 100% without knowing the full story. To allow them to fight for you effectively, you have to give them the tools, which in this case is accurate and timely information.
Of course, a good lawyer will ask you for information they deem necessary, but if they don’t and you are in doubt, there is no harm in informing them. Not to mention that it is illegal to falsify information to the courts.
4.Prepare in advance
Get your financials and documents ready by making copies of them and storing them in a secure location. You should do this before seeing your lawyer. This will help to save time as you have everything ready for them in the initial consultation or when they ask for it.
Getting your lawyer to get your documents for you can add to the cost. So it is best to do this yourself.
Something else i’ll add here is you should respond to your lawyer as quickly as possible. If they ask for information, give it to them at the earliest opportunity. This will help to speed up the process as they don’t have to wait too long for your response, which can be frustrating at times.
Often, they may need a piece of information in order to go about doing other tasks. So respond fast, as it also reflects well on you as a person.
5.Focus on the big picture
Sometimes, the emotions we face may cloud our judgements. It is imperative that you look at the big picture and not get all tangled up in the small details. But how do you know what the big picture is?
At the start of the divorce, think about what you want to achieve, what your ideal situation is at the end of the divorce. Think in terms of custody of your children, division of assets, alimony, etc. Communicate this to your lawyer, and manage your expectations as advised by him/her. When you get into the minor details of the divorce, keep the end goal in mind. Does what you are stressing over help you achieve your end goal? If it doesn’t, then don’t spend too much time fighting for it.
This is a very simple but often overlooked way of thinking. As the saying goes : You may have to lose some battles to win the war.
This goes without saying. Unfortunately, people may resort to retail therapy when they are feeling depressed.
During this difficult period, it is important to be thrifty. Know where your money is being spent. Once your divorce is over and all legal obligations have been settled, you can go on to spend your finances as you wish. But for now, be prudent as you have priorities and commitments.
On this point about being prudent, I should mention that i’ve seen clients switch their divorce lawyers halfway through their legal proceedings. This can be very costly in both time and money. To avoid this, ensure that the first lawyer you hire is someone you feel comfortable with, and that you are agreeable with their legal fees. We give you tips on how to find the right lawyer here.
It’s ok to spend more time shopping around. The extra time spent here will pay off in the long run. If you have any other helpful tips to share, feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear from you.